Pitchfork 2012

Last Thursday at an ungodly hour of the morning, we at AudioFemme hopped on the LIRR and embarked upon the beginnings of a three-day music going extravaganza at Chicago’s Union Park, for Pitchfork’s annual celebration of their version of what’s good (we gave the festival a 7.2). Stay tuned for our personal thoughts, reviews and videos. In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of what you missed over the weekend (granted some of it we missed too). We highly recommend trying to catch it next year, A for it’s accessibility and the remarkably low cost of passes and B for the well-crafted curatorial narrative that we noticed emerge over the course of the weekend, that made it an experience singular to a festival circuit dominated by massive and overwhelming lineups. Of that narrative, here’s what stuck out for us.


Lower Dens

We heard they’re a marginally boring to watch, but love their new album Nootropics. I’ve been listening to “brains” on repeat these days. For some reason it reminds me of a genre I used to love but can’t quite put my finger on. I think it probably harkens back to the ’90s, when I was listening to way too much Verve.

Willis Earl Beal

What a cute kid. Also, he’s pretty much the hipster American dream personified. He worked menial jobs, even occasionally living under bridges, until the hand drawn flyers he made and then scattered about the streets of Albuquerque seeking a girlfriend  got picked up by Found Magazine (good on you, Davey Rothbart), the cover of which he soon graced. He also had been making music during that time, and the rest is history. He writes poetry too, and illustrates his own music videos. You wouldn’t think it’d be THAT hard for him to find a girlfriend…

Clams Casino

Sexy, ambient electronic music isn’t the most appealing thing to watch in stifling midday summer heat, but Clams Casino is one person for whom we would withstand the ravages of nature.

Purity Ring

I hadn’t seen Purity Ring live yet (I know, lame, especially ‘cause Lindsey had seen them I think like five times), so I was probably the most excited for this show, out of everything. They are favorites of us both and I knew that if I could see them play “Fineshrine” I would leave Chicago happy. They can cut open my sternum whenever they want.

Tim Hecker

It’s weird for many reasons–namely his prolific and decades-long career, and his omnipresence on the live music scene–that we’ve never seen Tim Hecker perform. I also have a real soft spot for Canadians, so we were definitely looking forward to this.

Dirty Projectors

Dirty Projectors is one of those bands that contain so many talented people it’s frightening. It’s also frightening because David Longstreth kind runs the project like a harem. Dirty Projectors’ intense group dynamic, and the fact that all of its members are incredibly good looking, makes for quite the live spectacle. Plus, the new album is stunning. Seriously… Every. Damn. Song. It’s even a little irritating.



We were so excited for Chromatics that we got tickets to their after party, in case we either missed them, or couldn’t get a good view. They’re new on the scene after doing most of the soundtrack for Drive, which I think became more popular than the movie itself, even despite the presence of one Ryan Gosling.

Atlas Sound

I’ve always wondered what Bradford Cox looks like in the daylight—like if his cheekbones really do protrude that much or if it’s just the mood lighting we’re used to seeing him in at the dark little NYC venues he so frequently inhabits. That question alone is worth the trek across a muddy field to watch him live in the middle of the day on an outdoor stage. Of course there’s also the fact that Parallax will never get old for me. “Is your love worth the nausea it could bring?”. Oh yes…it is.

 Cloud Nothings

“Stay useless”, says Cloud Nothings. And what better way to do that than idle around Chicago for a weekend?

Nicholas Jaar

Nicholas Jaar is another one of those people whom I resent for the fact that he’s seven years younger than I am and ridiculously accomplished. And really nice and smart seeming, too. However my soft spot for minimalist techno (or blue-wave as he calls it) makes me more than glad to set my wounded ego aside and catch his set.

Sleigh Bells

Inexplicably, none of us had watched Sleigh Bells live before, and we know it’s a once in lifetime experience to see Alexis rock the fuck out like she was born to, so close up that you can see sweat running down her porcelain skin. We also wanted to witness the phenomenon of her hair staying totally perfect after an hour of flipping it around in 90-degree humidity. So jealous I can’t even really talk about it.

Hot Chip

We figured we’ll most likely never see Hot Chip again unless we decide to pay $100 and catch them at Terminal 5. PLUS we knew it’d probably be a riotously fun show, given history and everything.

Flying Lotus

Flying Lotus is one of those people we will never ever tire of seeing. He is further evidence of Warp’s status as a culture-defining institution.

Wild Flag

We heard these girls are awesome live, and we like pretty much every other band they’ve ever played in (Sleater Kinney, ahem).  We knew their mission to make music that is of the distinctly ‘anti-nostalgic’ ilk would be an interesting juxtaposition to most of the other performances on this list, all of which invariably have their own respective “throw-back” qualities.


Ice Age

Not usually into this kind of stuff, but we were mighty intrigued by the prospect of seeing three 19 year-olds from Denmark do post-punk. There’s also something them so eerily reminiscent of Joy Division that I suspect Ian Curtis himself may rise from the grave and come to this show.


I’ve heard this kid is a little savant on electronic percussion. Plus, we could gather him together with all the other teenagers on the bill and throw a bar mitzvah-themed party, which has always been a dream of mine.

Beach House

Beach House is one of those bands that reminds me of what it felt like to come to New York. Their self-titled debut came out the year I moved, so all of the newness and profound complexities I dealt with during those months I strongly associate with so many of their tunes. For that reason they’ll always hold a special place for me, even as they get bigger and bigger.

Thee Oh Sees

Garage-rock can either be really good or really quite bad. Thee Oh Sees define what’s good about it.


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